Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A shipment of GHQ stuff arrived!!

Today, the mailman brought me a box, bless his heart!! It was from Snyder & Short and was chock-full of goodies from GHQ. I buy all my GHQ stuff through Snyder & Short, as they give a significant discount on everything. Also, Randy Short is a joy to deal with as well as being a font of knowledge on all things WWII naval and Vietnam (he was there during the war). 

So here's what arrived. It's mostly geared toward Vietnam, with just a few items for Europe. Firstly, three recoilless rifles with two sandbagged positions:
A Vietnamese hooch on stilts, which will become part of a fishing village: 
Also a three bay townhouse with a peaked roof for northwest Europe:

Vehicles make up the rest of the order. Australian M113 FSV's that served in Vietnam and some modern Land Rover Defender 90's:
A pack of soft-topped US deuce-and-a-half trucks. Technically they're WWII vehicles, but they work perfectly well for Vietnam. Also a pack of NVA heavy weapons:
And lastly, a pack of two UH-1B Huey Hog gunships with a choice of two weapons combinations. Also a pack of two South Vietnamese river patrol boats:

I also picked up four more Bunker Boxes. You can never have too many vehicle storage boxes. So that was the haul. 

When I look at the alarming size of my lead pile, I know how Edmund Hillary felt looking up at Everest. I hope I'm as successful in getting to the top!! I'll let you know in 70 or 80 years. More from me over the weekend!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Painting West Germans

Although I've written about my West Germans before, I've never said exactly how I go about painting them. 

For several decades, all West German military vehicles were painted in overall Gelboliv (RAL 6014), which is a fairly dark brownish olive green when the paint is new: 
And it slowly fades to a greenish khaki:
What color to use as a base coat is easy, as Model Masters produces RAL 6014, which they call "Gelboliv", of course. Beginning in 1983-84, the West Germans started moving to NATO tri-color camouflage, the switch-over not being complete until about 1986-87. As my scenario is set in March 1981, I don't need to bother with that. 

Therefore, painting is pretty hassle-free. Two coats of Gelboliv to provide good coverage, then a black wash, to both deepen shadows and provide a coat of "grime". I blacken any gun barrel flanges, then I apply the necessary coat of "mud" to the lower vehicle and drybrush with Vallejo Khaki Grey (880). "Bling" is then added in the form of headlights, license plates (white in this case), and a yellow bridge weight notice. Gunmetal grey on any visible small weapons. That's all there is to it. 

For infantry, prior to 1990, the official uniform color was olive green, but this was renown for fading very quickly to a green that had a vague bluish tint. 
After a bit of experimentation, I settled on Model Masters Dunkelbraun. That translates into English as "dark brown", but it isn't even remotely brown. It's a slightly blueish sage green color, so problem solved. 

So, let's get painting!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Painting away on Easter weekend

A whole variety of things to try to get finished on this holiday weekend. The bookcase is simply bulging with little projects that I've begun, but not yet finished. 

First off, two troops of Danish M150's. That's a TOW launcher mounted on top of an M113A1:
And the real thing:

Next is a squadron of Danish Centurion V/2's with command. Mine:
And a real one:
These will be the armored squadron for a Danish mechanized infantry battalion that I'm just starting, but they look far too cool not to go ahead and do them first! 

Ok, that does it for now. More next Saturday!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Danish weekend

I felt in a Danish mood this weekend, after slaving over my East Germans for so long, with many more yet to be done. It's nice to break up the monotony of doing endless monotone painting. 

Firstly, I finished off part of a Danish Land Rover-mounted TOW launcher unit. Each mechanized infantry battalion was supported by four 120mm mortars towed by Unimog 1300L's, four M150 TOW vehicles, four Land Rovers with a TOW launcher each, and four reconnaissance Land Rovers each mounting an MG3. Danish Land Rovers usually had the TOW launcher on a pedestal mount in the rear bed, like this:
But O8 doesn't make such an animal, so I use the tripod ground mount:
And a separate vehicle. Here's my version:
The Danes used Land Rover 88's for this, but the closest O8 makes is a 109, so that's what I'll have to use.

Each mechanized infantry battalion was made up of two mechanized infantry companies, one motorized infantry company, and an armored squadron, in addition to the support units mentioned above. In 1981, armored units assigned to the Jutland Division used Leopard 1's:
While armor assigned to independent regimental battle groups or mechanized infantry units used Centurion V/2's:

And here's a Leopard 1A1 squadron that I've finished, three troops and a command stand:

I've also done a full M109 battery. Six M109's, two forward artillery observers, and a battery command stand. In the Danish Army, FAO's and battery commanders used M113's if it was self-propelled artillery and Land Rovers if it was towed artillery. Light (105mm) batteries usually had only one observer, while Field (155mm) and Heavy (203mm) batteries generally had two. The Danes still used the older, basic M109 with the short barrel:
And here's my battery:
Six M109's, two FAO's in M113's, and a battery commander in an M113. 

Well, I hope to get more done over the Easter weekend, so more from me then. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tying up loose ends

The bulk of my weekend has been spent trying to finish off units that lacked a stand or two. Trying to get my battalions that much closer to finished. 

My Danish mechanized infantry battalion gained one of the two pairs of M125 81mm mortar carriers that have been long-awaited:
Still another stand yet to go.

I also finished off the URAL 375D's that my East German 100mm anti-tank guns have been needing:
And just for fun, here's the real thing:

I've also done a micro-conversion and filed the gun barrel off of a BRM and changed it to a PRP-3, also known as a BMP-SON. Gluing a tiny bit of casting vent to the back of the turret represents the Small Fred radar:
And the real one:

That winds up the painting stage of the weekend. More next time!

Friday, April 4, 2014

West German infantry platoon TO&E

Last weekend, I covered the TO&E that I use for my Danish infantry platoon stands, so it seems fitting that I continue the theme and talk about my West German infantry platoons. 

As with my other TO&E's, this is somewhat stylized because I'm forced to adapt to what O8 actually produces. I also ignore things like grenatpistoles and G3 SG1 sniper rifles, which at this small scale would be pretty well invisible anyway. In any case, in 1981, a West German panzergrenadier platoon consisted of 3 squads. A squad varied from 5-7 men, depending on strength levels. I've settled on using 7, which gives me 21 per platoon stand. Each squad was 5 riflemen armed with G3's:
One Panzerfaust 44:
And one MG3 LMG:
Giving a platoon total of 15 riflemen, 3 PzF44, and 3 MG3. 

The early 80s was a time of profound restructuring for the West German Army, which was in the midst of transitioning from Heerstruktur 3 to Heerstructur 4. Because of this, some platoons would still have had a Carl Gustav or even two:
While others would already have replaced them with a Milan launcher (later in the 80s it was increased to two Milans): 
So I randomly give some platoons a Carl Gustav and others I give a Milan launcher. 

Panzergrenadier companies often had one or more Redeye launchers attached, though some didn't, which generally (but not always) would've been cascaded down to the platoons. So to ease my woes, I've elected not to put any on my platoon stands, instead keeping them grouped at company level. 

Panzerjägers had an identical structure with the exception that their squads had 2 extra riflemen, for a platoon total of 21 riflemen, so I have two types of West German stands, as if all this wasn't headache enough!!

More from me later this weekend, hopefully....